Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Take a Greedy Goblin, throw in Marco from JM2C and sprinkle with a Tobold and you’re all set for a spicy dish full of drama and fail. Looks like two prime WoW blogosphere moneymakers are slugging it out in the open for all to see.

There are two ways to go about this – one is to keep quiet and go about your business, and that’s what I’ve always been told to do. The other one is to say what you think, and that’s what I always did. I didn’t always come up on top. In fact, most of the time it turned out I was wrong and I had to pay, but in the end, I feel great at night and I’m a happy man, even if things may be rough because of my constantly blabbing pie hole.

Anyhow, I’ve read both of these blogs and I gotta tell you, I’ve been very hesitant about going to JM2C. Having worked in marketing for… well, some time, I think I can spot shoddy people trying to peddle things. Using phrases like “my guide is the BEST source online” and spamming your own blog with “get the guide now for a reduced price NOW” are sound sales methods, just as going naked to a singles bar is a sound method of finding the love of your life.

Smart people don’t watch TV shopping networks and never fall for the old “mine is the BEST” line. Stupid people often do, and there are a lot of stupid people out there. Making a profit from stupidity is not good business, it’s exploitation. The difference between the Greedy Goblin and Marco is that one of them does it in game, and the other one is doing it in real life.

Also, calling someone a “twat” and deleting the post afterwards means you insta-loose the argument. Protip: Google Reader remembers.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My first patch excitement frenzy

I’ve been playing for a few years now and I’m the first to admit I’m a casual. Sure, sometimes I can’t stop playing but I never bothered to stay around for the end game. I don’t care about PvP. I might do the occasional BG, but it’s running around and doing random stuff on random chars that does it for me.

The thing I absolutely love in WoW is instancing. I have no idea why, I just do. Another thing is I also stress about it, a lot. So much so, I eventually stop instancing, because I always aim to get the best results and it’s hard to when you’re pugging.

Still, the new LFG tool makes me excited like hell. This has to be the first time I’m really keen on a patch and simply can’t wait. Bring on 3.3! Please!

All in, all out

I decided that I really need to see how the market works in WoW. As mentioned before, I invested all I had and just went for it. I haven’t left Ironforge on my main for a week and the money keeps rolling in. Sure, it’s not 1K a day, but with an investment of some 40 minutes a day I’m slowly replacing all bags on my alts for something more spacious.

Since I had no concept on how some thing actually worked, I went for reselling. My thoughts so far? First up, reselling will always give you profit… eventually. It’s all about long term investment. Some stuff stays on the AH for a week and it generates costs, sure, but once it sells it gives a healthy 500% return.

With Auctioneer’s help, I started with low-level greens, buying en-masse and re-listing them. The initial 350G investment came back quick. Not that I saw it, because everything go invested back. Eventually I bought more expensive stuff and some blues. This is where I made a few costly errors – some blues are way overpriced and it was hard to clear them. In the end, everything sold and I bought some purples. These items are the hardest to sell, but again – once they do, you’re earning back all the costs, and more.

Once I was ahead, I made an alt for enchanting and another one for prospecting. My main went into ink making and I’m trying to figure out what’s the best way to mill my way into more profits. Mind you, I’m doing this all with a lvl 63, 29 and 17. Fun!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Auctioneer, here I come!

I took a plunge today into the seemingly endless depths of Auctioneer. Having problems sleeping means I have some extra time on my hands and I decided I simply have to have some of those sub-tools running. Well, after around an hour of snooping around, re-installing and de-installing and all kinds of shenanigans, I finally found that I had some dependencies missing. I tried to use some advanced search functions before, but it never seemed to work, and I decided at the time that I’m too stupid and probably have set something wrong. Well, I was wrong.

So for starters, I have some 20 gold invested into various items I disenchanted and we will see how that goes. Burning Legion is a huge server with something like 26000 items on the AH at any time, and there’s a lot of folks rocking the markets. I don’t have the patience to stick around and fight for every glyph, but I’ll be happy if I end up earning by anything from 10 to 20 percent of what I invested. Plus, there’s a lot more to figure out in Auctioneer, now that it’s not broken (ahem).

The Carbonite & Questhelper problem

I’ve been a faithful questhelper/cartopgrapher user for ages. It worked out so good that I never thought about Carbonite. For whatever reason, Carbonite also had was considered a somewhat shoddy operation, what with it being payware and all. Since it went freeware, I gave it a whirr and… honestly, I don’t know what to think.

First up – I love it, I really do. While the initial set up give you a package that demands a lot of manual control, everything seems so clear. The quest mob/item areas marked on the mini-map are extremely precise. The different coloring gives you a great picture of where to go and what do. The attached database of important locations, including trainers, shopkeepers and the like is simply great.

This does come at a cost, though. The mini-map is an essential element of the UI, and while high-end players tend to re-work every aspect of their interface, I’d guess most gamers are like me, modifying the existing look, but not going as far as too actually changing anything drastically. Carbonite takes your current UI set up, chews it and spits out something new.

It’s been a few weeks on one of my characters so far and I still need to think how to do some actions. I get lost in the interface and the sheer size of the Preferences menu scares me away constantly. The two concurrent map systems give me headaches, and I still don’t know how to bring it back if I close it by accident. I’m looking in vain for an option to stop my character from shouting out every time a sub-goal is completed, so that everyone in the party knows, which is embarrassing in a dungeon environment. I did find an option that sounded like what I needed, and it turned out that wasn’t it. All in all, I changed something – just not the thing I was looking for.

Carbonite is complicated, because it’s huge. And that’s a good thing, too – I keep stumbling upon new stuff all the time. Just recently I figured out that if an opposite faction player comes into proximity of your character, the minimap lights up and a mini-list shows up, allowing you to target the baddie. This is so great on a PvP server that I’m still not sure if it’s an exploit or not. I’m sure there is more stuff in there, and I’ll write about in a year, when I think I’ll be a tad more competent about it.

So what’s the problem? Well, quest helper seems so simple. Once you detach from the Carbonite clutter, it feels nice to have a few simple menus and displays. What I found is that quest helper is great in lower levels, which is ironic if you consider the fact that you should run Carbonite from level one in order to get the best out of it. On the other hand, the quest chaos in the Outlands can be tamed easily with Carbonite, and it really sped up my priest while going through Hellfire Peninsula and Terrokar.

The jury’s out on the subject.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The lowbie world revisited

Sometime ago I wrote about how the old world needs to be changed, along with the basic premise of low-level instancing. I doubt that anyone from Blizzard read it, but in the end Cataclysm was announced and it looks like all my alt-loving, lowbie needs are going to be fulfilled. The problem? Before we got to play all the new stuff, we’ll have to wait. The closer we’ll be to the cataclysm, the more unbearable it’s going to be.

I just tried this out, leveling my priest Pillbox. It took me some 3 weeks to get him to 60, and most of the time it was a nasty chore. Since I usually hang around on my alts, the old world is all I see. Doing the same-‘ol, same-‘ol all over again was a strain on my sanity. Here are some basic problems of re-running old world content:

Having to put up with bad/nasty/hard quests – it’s been a long time since WoW was introduced, and you can clearly see which parts come from the crap era, which I’d define as the time when level cap population of vanilla had to get some new goodies to keep them interested. That’s any zone from 50 to 60, really.

I have no idea what happened there, but I’m glad that the philosophy behind quests in places like Winterspring and the Plageluands didn’t live on. The grind is nasty. The difficulty has been crancked up. The storylines are crap and insignificant. Some places seem tremendously out of tune, like the Redridge Mountains which go from easy to incredihard in a short time. Don’t get me started on the quests that have you flying all over the damn continent – one of them took around 30 minutes to get an item from Un’goro to Darnassus.

You just chore through to get to the Outlands, and then suddenly you realize once again why the game is so awesome. Proper quest rewards and short downtimes guarantee that you want to soldier on.

Doing lowbie instances with, well… lowbies
– there’s a reason people are screaming at the top of their lungs about the new LFG tool, due in 3.3. Old world instances were fun, but the only way to do them right now is to hang around in LFG while you quest and hope for 4 other random folks to plod along at some point.

The problem is experienced players stay in their cozy eighties shoes and don’t alt that much, and if they do, they just bring a friend along. You’re stuck with folks who are getting to grips with the game, and it’s always a pally trying to tank without having a concept as to what it really entails. The few instances I healed through were especially tough on me as a healer. Hopefully this’ll change.

And anyhow, places like Stratholme or Scholomance are a lost cause. You can do them for the story, but with Outlands looming around the corner, the gear rewards are pointless. I spent three hours in Strat last week and worked my ass off to the point of exhaustion. We did the plague part and failed in the human district eventually. The gear lasted for three levels. Due to the sheer lunacy that the Plaguelands are, I neglected to take the quests, so I missed out on the story, too.

Dealing with the crazy economy Tobold actually wrote about what I was going to say here. The basic gist is that due to fast alt leveling, you’ve got lowbies with bucketloads of cash. You can sell an item for 20 s to the vendor, or plop it down on the AH for anything from 5 to 50 gold. By the time you get to Outlands, you can either gear yourself up or get a proper flying mount. It’s all fine, just… not the way it was supposed to be (I hope).

Working through nasty learning curves – The short’n’sweet lowdown here is that with most classes, you facemelt from 1-10 and then get roflstomped from 10 to 30. I got no idea what the big idea behind this is, since eventually things level off and even a priest can kick some serious ass. The problem is it doesn’t apply to all classes – a warrior or a pally work fine, while a priest or a rogue are crap. It does guarantee some balance in the end – I’m sure the initial lack of useful abilities stops a lot of folks from rolling rogues, and maybe that was the plan. I dunno.


All in all, everything kinda works out at the end – there’s 11 million people playing, after all. Still, the differences in how the game was made before and what they’re doing with it now is spectacular. With Cataclysm, we’re sure to geed more of the good stuff and less fail – unless they have a change of heart in regard to their core philosophies.

What I did on my holidays

As sudden as the urge to play WoW may strike, I sometimes get a similar feeling that tells me to stop. Sometimes it goes on for a month, sometimes longer. There’s always something that sets this off. In my case the leave of absence was caused by Polish players.

Now, I’m Polish and not too proud. I don’t hold my fellow countrymen in high contempt. Oh sure, they seem nice to anyone that comes along, but usually it’s for personal gain. You might says it’s same as in most Middle Eastern countries, but then, with these folks at least you know where you stand. Poles are nasty, spiteful and backstabby sad bastards that will go to great lengths to prove their superiority in any matter.

When I got my mom to play, I chose a random server for her – Runetotem-EU. Okay, I lied a little, because it wasn’t that random. I checked to see if there’s a noticeable amount of Poles around, and there wasn’t. Since she was a new MMO player, I didn’t want her experience spoiled by a bunch of asswipes. With 20/20 hindsight, it was futile, because she refuses to interact with anyone and limits her game time to the AH mostly, but she’s having fun, so what the heck.

I however did manage to find some Poles. There wasn’t that many of them there, and so I was optimistic. It turned out there’s a server-wide channel too, which I hastly joined to meet some new people. It took around 3 minutes for me to get shouted out from there – I wasn’t one of “them”, for whatever reason, and the guy who told me about the place also heard some nasty words. Ah, Poland. I just stopped playing and haven’t thought about coming back for a few months since.

Every time I do get back, my character choices are based on what I don’t get to do too much in game. I chose the rogue, because I never did any DPS. Now I chose a priest, because I couldn’t get into dungeons. Since I have a tendency to frustrate myself, I did re-roll on a Polish server, and PVP at that too. I might hate it eventually, but this time around I’ll just transfer out, because… playing a priest is so much fun!

It really is, too. Once you get through the terribad slew of low-level quests, you roll into the shadow talent tree and things start to move along. Right now I’m lvl 61 and tearing through PVE. The first dungeon in The Outlands I did was Hellfire Ramparts and that in itself was interesting – I was asked to do DPS, and that’s the last thing I’d expect anyone to ask a priest these days. My performance was sub-par at best, but I got two great drops, which means I’m loving my class even more.

So I’m back. We’ll see how things roll from here, but I’m enjoying myself and things are looking swell.